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The Northwest Passage – Canadian Arctic to Greenland

Northwest Passage cruise

  • © Dann Catt
    © Dann Catt
  • © Michelle Valberg
    © Michelle Valberg
  • © Andre Gallant
    © Andre Gallant
  • © Andre Gallant
    © Andre Gallant
  • © Andrew Stewart
    © Andrew Stewart
  • © Andre Gallant
    © Andre Gallant

Summary : Cross the Arctic Circle as you sail the length of Sondre Stromfjord! Cruise among icebergs at Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Queen Maud Gulf, home to the wrecks of the Franklin ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Watch for marine mammals and wildlife in Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) Marine Protected Area. Seek polar bears, seabirds, and other Arctic wildlife in pristine natural environments

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins


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Day 1
Calgary (2020) or Yellowknife (2021), Canada

Attend the mandatory orientation at the Marriott Calgary Airport Hotel. Hotel not included.

Day 2
Calgary (2020) or Yellowknife (2021), Canada / Kugluktuk, Canada

Transfer to the airport and board your charter flight to Kugluktuk (flight not included).

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. Known for many years as Coppermine, the community reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name—meaning “place of moving waters”—on January 1, 1996.

Embark the Ocean Endeavour by Zodiac to commence your trip!

Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), NU, is an alternate embarkation point, and may be used based on sea, ice, and weather conditions.

Day 3 – 5
Kitikmeot Region

The Kitikmeot Region consists of parts of Victoria Island, the adjacent part of the mainland as far as the Boothia Peninsula, King William Island, and the southern portion of Prince of Wales Island. Recently, the Kitikmeot Region has been in the news since the finding of the lost ships of the Franklin Expedition in its waters. It is Nunavut’s least-populated region, though wildlife abounds here both in the sea and on land. Explore by Zodiac and on foot.

Day 6 – 11
Prince Regent Inlet / Beechy Island / Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) / Devon Island / Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord)

Prince Regent Inlet:
This passage marks an area rich in marine and avian life. Thick-billed Murres, Ivory Gulls, beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales reside in the ice-strewn waters. In addition to abundant wildlife, delve deeper into the exploration of the Northwest Passage and mercantile efforts of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Beechy Island:
In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out from England with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, attempting to sail through the Northwest Passage. Franklin’s crew overwintered at Beechey Island where three of his men died.

Numerous search parties later used Beechey as a depot and rendezvous. Amundsen, Bernier, and Larsen all visited Beechey. Thomas Morgan of HMS Investigator was buried there in 1854 alongside Franklin’s men. The graves, and the ruins of nearby Northumberland House, are a haunting memorial.

Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) / Devon Island:
Spend the day exploring the ocean wilderness of Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound). In August of 2017, this enormous body of water was declared a National Marine Conservation Area.

Large populations of marine mammals, including narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales transit and feed in this area. There is a great selection of landing sites available, depending on weather, wildlife, and sea conditions.

Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord):
Aujuittuq means ‘place that never thaws.’ Above the Arctic Circle, Canada’s northernmost “civilian” community originated in the Cold War; in 1953, residents were relocated to Aujuittuq to boost Canadian sovereignty. In 2016, the census placed the population at 129.

Your activities will center in the village where you will have a chance to meet members of the community, learn about their way of life, and hear their poignant stories.

Day 12
Smith Sound

Smith Sound, an ancient Inuit travel route, divides Ellesmere Island from Greenland, and served as the main route for explorers and adventurers searching for the North Pole. Adolphus Greely, Sir George Nares, and Elisha Kent Kane all travelled these waters with varying degrees of success.

Day 13
At Sea

On this exploration day, you’ll be making the most of what the wind, weather and wildlife have to offer. Your expedition staff will scan for polar bears, walrus, whales, seals, and seabirds as you go.

Day 14 – 15
Northwest Greenland

Explore stunning fjords that line the coast. Glaciers and icebergs abound here. In true expedition style, seek opportunities to hike, explore, and view wildlife as conditions allow.

Day 16

Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, an apt name for this site at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The icefjord is the outlet of the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, source of many of the icebergs in the north Atlantic.

Cruise by Zodiacs to appreciate the icebergs. And visit the bustling town of Ilulissat, with its museums, cafes, craft shops, and busy fishing harbor.

Day 17
Itilleq Fjord

The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of islands and complex coastal waterways. Enter the Arctic autumn, the tundra foliage will be in gorgeous color. Making an expedition stop here to explore the landscape of wild Greenland.

Day 18
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Toronto, Canada

Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight to Toronto (flight not included). Transfer from the Toronto airport to the recommended post-trip hotel (hotel not included).


Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Emergency evacuation and medical insurance is mandatory in order to travel with Adventure Canada. As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase at least $75,000 of medical evacuation insurance and medical insurance. Please note that this is a suggested minimum by Adventure Canada and that actual medical and evacuation costs may far exceed this amount. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Persons that already have their own medical and emergency evacuation coverage will be asked to provide full policy details upon booking. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Nikon Photography Program
Adventure Canada is proud to partner with Nikon Canada for the onboard Nikon Camera Trial Program, taking place aboard all Ocean Endeavour expeditions. Through this program, travelers will have the opportunity to try professional quality photography equipment in stunning environments, and take advantage of onsite instruction from Nikon Ambassadors. You can also experience the power of Nikon products through onboard seminars and onshore photography workshops, designed to help you capture the perfect image of your trip of a lifetime.

Optional Kayaking:
Explore at water level in small groups with experienced kayak guides. Excursions are offered on double kayaks, as well as the essential gear for safety and comfort.

Optional Mountain Biking:
Experience communities and landscapes at your own pace! For fitness enthusiasts and independent explorers, the ship carries a fleet of Kona mountain bikes. These multi-geared, all-purpose bikes are available during select community excursions.

Transfer from recommended pre-trip hotel to airport on embarkation day; transfer from ship to airport on disembarkation day; late evening transfer from airport to recommended post-trip hotel on disembarkation day; Nikon Camera Trial Program; gear to keep (expedition jacket); gear on loan (boots); photo journal; all meals onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:

Airfare; pre- and post-trip accommodations; passport and visa expenses; spa expenses; kayaking; mountain biking; optional excursions and extensions; WiFi; alcohol; soft drinks; laundry services; onboard medical charges; personal expenses; cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s); gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.

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